Thomas Cooke declares candidacy for Summit County Council

Cooke's primary motivation to serve on the County Council is to ensure that the county manages growth

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – With the official filing period for Summit County Council only days away, Thomas Cooke has officially announced his candidacy, joining Cami Richardson as candidates for the 2024 Summit County Elections.

County Council members are elected for four-year terms, and Cooke will file as a Democrat for the seat Malena Stevens is set to vacate at the end of 2024.

Cooke is a thirty-year Summit County resident and currently serves as the Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner, a position he has held for seven years.

In his seven years as the planning commissioner, the longest active tenure of any member, Cooke has served as both vice chair and chair and also fulfilled multiple appointments to design and code review subcommittees. Cooke has also been active in the Summit County Democratic party as a delegate since 2020.

Cooke’s primary motivation to serve on the County Council is to ensure the county manages growth in ways that will allow Summit County’s younger and future generations to afford to live and work in the communities in which they are raised.

“Whether one’s heritage is skiing or farming, livelihoods in these parts depend on water and resource management as much as they do the ability to find good employees year after year,” said Cooke.

“If we don’t sustain a community our kids can afford to return to one day, then we have failed them. We will also have failed them if they return to a Summit County so over-built and stripped of its natural wonders that they don’t recognize it.”

In relation to managing growth, Cooke’s time on the Planning Commission included the entirety of the application review process for the controversial Dakota Pacific tech park development. After eighteen months, Cooke ultimately voted against the project.

“Planning is an iterative process,” Cooke said. “In my seven years with Planning Commission, Dakota Pacific’s application is the only one we reviewed that got worse the longer we looked at it instead of better.”

Cooke is also concerned with the future of eastern Summit County, which he believes is grappling with the same problems western Summit County has suffered in recent years including declining natural resources, housing scarcity, growing cost of living, and lack of economic diversity.

“Park City was unrecognizable to many longtime locals who watched extractive development forever alter the socioeconomics of their small town after the 2002 Winter Olympics. I want to be a voice for reason, integrity, and optimism on Council with the hope we manage the likely 2034 Games in ways that are additive and sustainable for every last pocket in Summit County.”

Cooke also works for the Utah-based nonprofit Bicycle Collective, which focuses on promoting cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and recreation, in addition to serving as a trustee for the Winter Sports School.

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